Phalaenopsis or Pink Moth Orchid in Bloom

How to Keep Orchids Alive to Blossom Every Other Year

Ian Mutuli
Updated on

Many consider Orchids to be one of the plant world's divas. Orchids are exotic, often pricey and may require a little more patience than most indoor plants to produce their spectacular flowers. The good news is that, even for a novice gardener, the phalaenopsis orchid is extremely simple to nurture and bring into bloom.

While many orchids are expensive and difficult to come by, the phalaenopsis species is a common sight on the floral shelf at your local supermarket. These plants are popular as gifts, but they generally wind up in the trash once the flowers fade.

If you follow a few simple procedures in caring for your Phalaenopsis orchid, it will thrive for many years and produce a long-lasting bloom (up to three months) every year. To show you how to keep orchids alive indoors and encourage them to bloom again, here are a few basic steps to follow:

How to Keep Orchids Alive

1. The Appropriate Amount of Bright and Indirect Light

Orchids require a lot of bright and indirect light. The morning light-filled east-facing window is perfect. South- or west-facing windows can also be used, but ensure your orchid is protected from the harshest afternoon sunlight with a sheer curtain. If you place them in direct sun, you risk scorching their leaves and causing the blooms to wilt. So what is the best way to check if your orchid is receiving sufficient sunlight? The foliage should be a vibrant olive green color. Darker leaves indicate that the plant isn't getting enough light, while red-tinged leaves indicate that the orchid is getting too much sunlight.

2. The Temperature should be Warmer

Phalaenopsis orchids thrive in temperatures over 60 degrees at night and between 70 and 80 degrees during the day. Remember that the temperature on your windowsill is cooler or hotter than the rest of your house. Ensure your plants aren't touching the windowpane if you keep them on a windowsill. The pane could freeze an orchid's leaves in a chilly area throughout the winter or give it too much moisture due to humidity in the summer.

Keep orchids away from powerful sources of heat, as the dry air around your radiator or refrigerator will be significantly dryer, potentially drying out your plant's leaves. In addition, it might cause buds to drop off just as they are about to open. Finally, make sure your Phalaenopsis doesn't get in the way of any drafts.

Phalaenopsis or Pink Moth Orchids in Bloom

3. Remove any Dead Blooms

When the blooms fade, you can either cut the spike down to the leaves, and the orchid will develop a strong stem with even larger flowers within a year; or cut the spike down to the leaves, and the orchid will grow a strong stem with even larger flowers within a year. Alternatively, cut the stem right above the first node, which appears as a hump below the faded bloom. Then, within 8 to 12 weeks, the remaining stem will produce another series of flowers.

4. Watering Orchids

Growing orchids isn't simple. How you water an orchid is an important aspect of orchid care. Water orchids once a week with lukewarm or room temperature water. Water the orchid before midday on sunny days. Watering earlier in the day gives your orchid more time to dry water into humid air in the sun if any crown area gets too much moisture.

You may need to be a little more frequent in the summer than winter. Give it another day if you're not sure. Irrigate just inside the orchid pot rim, under the leaves, with a narrow-nose watering can. When watering the orchid, make every effort to get the water under the leaves. It's critical that the crown of the plant's heart stays dry.

To avoid crown rot, wipe any extra water with a paper towel. If the crown remains wet for an extended period, the plant will succumb to crown rot, which will kill it. Ensure the pot has drainage so that any excess water can drain, and the saucer doesn't hold water to avoid root rot.

5. Feed Your Plants

Fertilize weekly with a little fertilizer to keep your orchid alive indoors. Give your plants a teaspoon of 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer per gallon of water when they aren't blooming. Orchids flourish better with too little fertilizer than with too much. So skip the fertilizer once on the fourth week and rinse any surplus salts with pure water instead.

6. Orchids aren’t Potted in Soil

No potting soil is permitted! In nature, orchids grow linked to other plants. Therefore, don't pot them in soil. Instead, use an orchid potting mix. Plant them in a loose bark and repot them whenever the bark chips decay, which is normally every one to three years. It's better to wait until an orchid has finished flowering before repotting it.

To repot, water your Phalaenopsis, wiggle it out of the pot, and wash the old tree bark from the roots, snipping out any dried or mushy orchid roots with clean clippers once the bark chips have decayed. Then, repot in moistened medium-grade bark orchid mix, 1/2 inch below the pot rim, with the base of the bottom leaves above the bark.

7. Avoid Overwatering, exposure to too much sunlight, and radiation.

Overwatering your orchid is not good orchid care. Orchids require constant watering to avoid approaching dryness between applications. In the summer, once weekly; in the winter, once every seven to ten days, depending on how warm the house is.

When fresh buds turn yellow and fall off, it's a sign they're not getting enough water. Do not water them from above; pooling water in the crown and between the leaves might promote rotting. If your orchid's crown becomes wet, use a paper napkin to absorb as much water as possible.

Avoid keeping your orchids near a radiator to keep them warm. Orchids despise heat. When it comes to direct sunlight and overheating, orchid leaves are generally quite delicate. To avoid damage, ensure optimum health, and keep the orchid alive, keep it in bright light.

Their dark green foliage will fade if exposed to too much sunlight. If the orchid receives too little light, it will not flower, and its leaves will grow limp. While in the summer, East-facing windows behind net curtains are preferable shading from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To keep your orchid alive, don't forget about it. The more you pay attention to your orchids, the sooner you'll notice problems and have a better chance of curing them. Also, don't consider the orchid dead only because the blossoms have faded. All you do is trim it back to about the second node of the spike's bumps, and it will eventually rebloom.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

1. How Long Do Orchids Live?

With proper care, orchids can live for years, if not decades. The lifespan of an orchid includes an initial bloom in the fall, a dormant period, and a rebloom. If the orchid is well-cared for, the dormant and rebloom, periods are repeated every few months.

2. Is it Difficult to Keep Orchids Alive?

Orchids are challenging to maintain. If you're a naturally fastidious person, orchids are easy to care for. It will probably do better if you spend your time arranging and setting up an area for your orchid. A succulent plant is a good choice if you always forget to water your houseplants. If you have your heart set on an orchid, though, you should know that they aren't easy to care for.

3. Can Orchids Grow Indoors?

Orchids thrive in a variety of interior environments if the conditions are right. Orchids grown indoors do better than they would outside in many regions. It is especially true in cooler regions and areas with water-retaining soils. Orchids have a very precise equilibrium that is sometimes difficult to achieve outside of their natural habitat.

4. What is the Best Location to Keep an Orchid?

The greatest place to keep an orchid is in a south or east-facing window, as these directions provide the best indirect light. West-facing windows receive a lot of direct light, although they can also be used if a curtain is hung. North-facing windows don't get enough light, but you can compensate with a sun lamp or other artificial light. Orchids should ideally be kept in a room that is easily heated.

5. What is the Best Way to Get an Orchid to Flower?

Orchids produce flowers once a year, and the blooms last for roughly a month. Some orchids bloom in the winter and others in the spring, but most orchids bloom in August or September. You can deceive the orchid into blooming again at the end of the bloom period by cutting the blossom section of the plant away at the node right below the first new flower. You may keep pruning the node to keep the orchid blooming all year if you take note of the light and water parameters and mimic the environment.

6. Why does an Orchid go Dormant?

Do not be surprised if your orchid loses all of its blossoms. It will bloom once again in a year. If the plant does not bloom again, it has gone dormant. The roots are most likely suffocated, and the orchid requires a new growing medium or potting mix. Before you pot the plant, remove any dead roots and stems. Repeat this every two to three years.

The orchid should send out a new stem and flower once again during the flowering season. Every time you water the plant, give it a quarter-strength fertilizer to help it develop faster. You can resume regular feedings after the orchid has returned to normal.

Conclusion

Orchids are difficult to grow and maintain. However, with the appropriate conditions, anyone can cultivate these beautiful blossoms. Now that you've learned these simple successful orchid-care instructions, you're ready to turn your ordinary home into a greenhouse!

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.